Today in Nerd News – Ray Manzarek, Star Wars Rebels, and Daft Punk

I’d like to start this off by sending some love to the people of Moore, Oklahoma. If you didn’t know, they were hit by a devastating tornado yesterday. As of the time I am writing this, some 51 people are presumed dead, almost half of that number being children. Please, if you can, make a donation to the Red Cross so that these people can get some food, water, and medical aide as they attempt to pick themselves up from this disaster and try to rebuild.

You can donate by visiting redcross.org.

Ray Manzarek has died at 74

"When You're Strange" - 2009 Sundance Portrait Session

Ray Manzarek, the keyboardist and founding member of The Doors, has passed away at the age of 74 after a long fight with bile duct cancer. His music, though it always played as a compliment to the words of Jim Morrison, could stand on it’s own when Ray wanted it to. That sound, usually emanating from an early ’60s Vox Electric Organ (because late ’60s organs weren’t made with the same quality), became the essence of the California and ’60s sound.

Even after Jim Morrision’s death in 1971, Manzarek and the rest of The Doors carried on the band’s name with two more albums, Other Voices and Full CircleAfter the band’s 1973 breakup, Manzarek pursued his own solo music career. But, he never forgot the music that made him famous. Throughout the rest of his life, Manzarek, along with fellow guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore, would revisit the music of The Doors from time to time, with either Manzarek stepping in on lead vocals or with various other singers taking the reigns.

On a personal note, it was always my dream to meet Manzarek. His attitude, style, and intelligence was impressive to me. When I first heard the music of The Doors, his work on the electric organ stuck out to me. After that first encounter, I took to eBay in hopes of scoring a Vox Electric Organ of my own, not realizing that an instrument like that would cost me an arm and a leg now. And, although I’ve gone on to play the guitar instead of the organ, I still consider Ray Manzarek to be one of my all-time favorite musical inspirations.

Below I’ve included two pieces of music, just in case you aren’t aware of his work. The first is The Doors song “The End,” with Jim Morrison on lead vocals. This song is one of my favorite Doors songs. With the mix of Morrison’s hypnotic lyrics and Manzarek’s perfect musical accompaniment, this song has become my go-to tune when I need to just sit back, relax, and escape. The second tune is “Ships w/ Sails,” which comes from the album Other Voices. Not only does this song showcase Manzarek’s playing skills, but his vocal talent as well, which, according to legend, sounded so similar to Jim Morrison’s that he would often perform the band’s songs when Morrison was MIA.

Rest well, Ray.

Star Wars Rebels set to replace The Clone Wars

The Symbol of the Rebellion

One of the first things Disney did after it purchased Lucasfilm, other than cutting George Lucas as big, fat check was cancel the Cartoon Network series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. But, don’t fret animated Star Wars fans, because there is a new hope on the horizon.

See what I did there?

It was announced yesterday that Disney will be putting a new show into production, and it’s scheduled to premiere in the fall of 2014. That show will be called Star Wars Rebels, and it will take place in the 20 year span of time between Episodes III & IV. And, unlike the previous animated series, Rebels will first premiere, in a one-hour special, on the Disney Channel, and then go into full series over on the Disney XD channel.

Here is the full press release, which I found over at GeekTyrant:

Production has begun on Star Wars Rebels, an exciting, all-new animated television series based on one of the greatest entertainment franchises of all time. Scheduled to premiere in fall 2014 as a one-hour special telecast on Disney Channel, it will be followed by a series on Disney XD channels around the world.

Leading the development of the series is a creative team of exceptional talent. Screenwriter/producer Simon Kinberg (X-Men: First Class, Sherlock Holmes, Mr. & Mrs. Smith) is an executive producer on Star Wars Rebels and will write the premiere episode. He is joined by Dave Filoni as executive producer, who served as supervising director of the Emmy nominated Star Wars: The Clone Wars since 2008. Executive producer Greg Weisman brings with him a wealth of animation experience with credits such as Young Justice, The Spectacular Spider-Man and Gargoyles.

Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer, Disney Channels Worldwide, said, “The entire team at Lucasfilm has provided extraordinary creativity and innovation for over three decades, and we’re thrilled to be bringing the expansive and imaginative world of Star Wars to Disney XD’s viewers.”

“I couldn’t be more excited to explore new corners of the Star Wars universe,” said Kathleen Kennedy, president, Lucasfilm. “I think Star Wars Rebels will capture the look, feel and fun that both kids and their parents love about Star Wars.”

The action-filled series is set between the events of Episode III and IV — an era spanning almost two decades never-before explored on-screen. Star Wars Rebels takes place in a time where the Empire is securing its grip on the galaxy and hunting down the last of the Jedi Knights as a fledgling rebellion against the Empire is taking shape. Details about the show are a closely guarded secret at this point.

Star Wars Rebels will be produced by Lucasfilm Animation, featuring many of the key talents that made Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Fans attending Star Wars Celebration Europe will be the first to get an exclusive look at the new series. Casting will be announced at a later date. More information about this developing project will be found on StarWars.com and on Facebook at facebook.com/starwarsrebels.

 Let’s hope that the Star Wars name can help keep this show alive over on Disney XD. Because, despite the follow that Tron: Legacy had, it couldn’t save Tron: Uprising from cancellationDo you think Disney is making the right move by putting Star Wars Rebels on Disney XD? 

Random Access Memories is now available

Random Access Memories

As a quick aside, Daft Punk’s newest album, Random Access Memories, is now available! Although it is a departure from what they’ve done in the past, it is quite an enjoyable collection of tunes. And, as I’ve asked before, please give this album the ole two listens before passing some judgement upon it.

Enjoy.

And, that’s about all you need to know to start your day. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more updates and nerd news articles. Also, be sure to check out our podcast, Let Us Podcast, now on iTunes. Also, be sure to check us out on the a recent episode of All Things Good and Nerdy

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One thought on “Today in Nerd News – Ray Manzarek, Star Wars Rebels, and Daft Punk

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